Five International Orienteering Events to Take Note This Summer

by Raphael Mak

With the summer in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere (with Europe and its colossal share of orienteering devotees), the world’s most prominent orienteering events will take place with the top elites vying for medals.

Orienteering is not on the Summer Olympics programme (and there aren’t Olympics this year anyway); it kept on being denied inclusion into the programme each time in favour of some other more popular, spectator friendly sports (well, we aren’t that miserable considering that a sport as popular as squash also has yet make its way in!). Instead, orienteering is competed in the World Games, which consists of some recognised Olympic sports (those recognised by the International Olympic Committee) that aren’t included in the Olympic programme.

The World Orienteering Championships 2015 in Scotland

For those of you new to orienteering and not so familiar with the international events, here are a few to help you get started:

1. The World Games 2017 (25–27 July, Wrocław, Poland)

Similar to many events on the Olympics programme, participation is subject to a defined qualification quota scheme, so it’s truly an orienteering event at the highest level.

2. The Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships (30 June–8 July 2017, Tartu, Estonia)

The second year of Nokian Tyres’ (a Finnish vehicle tyre manufacturer) sponsorship of the World Orienteering Championships in foot orienteering, the Championships will take place this year in the university town of Tartu. Of note, the 13-time World Champion Thierry Gueorgiou is set to retire from elite competition after this year’s Championships.

3. The World Trail Orienteering Championships (10–15 July 2017, Birštonas, Lithuania)

Originally a discipline of orienteering intended for those with impaired movement, trail orienteering has gained momentum among many physically fit orienteers, and especially in Hong Kong. Trail orienteering is played by choosing the one marker (or none at all), out of one or more markers, that fits the given control description.

Although not as “active” as foot orienteering and still has a long way to go to be on a par with it in terms of popularity, it’s a good idea that you pay attention to it as it becomes more well known.

On a side note, the World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships will also take place in Lithuania, but in the capital Vilnius.

4. The Junior World Orienteering Championships 2017 (9–16 July 2017, Tampere, Finland)

The Junior World Orienteering Championships is a testing ground for many of the greatest names in orienteering to come. One example: Simona Aebersold (probably a great name in her own right already with 4 JWOC golds to date).

5. O-Ringen 2017 (22–28 July, Värmland, Sweden)

The focus of O-Ringen is not to watch: it’s to participate! The O-Ringen of Sweden is perhaps the most well known and participated multi-day orienteering event in the world, with a history of over 50 years and an annual participation in the tens of thousands. Taking place over five days, you can choose from different levels of courses at your liking (the main competition classes or the open classes). You can even register on-site — provided you have the air ticket to get to Sweden!